Sunday, June 27, 2010

Checking in

This will be pretty short.  (Yeah yeah, she says that all the time..)  If you've read my last couple of posts, you know that I'm at a pretty serious point in my weight loss journey, having hit some kind of new low emotionally juxtaposed to (and likely resulting from) a new high at the scale, at least a new high since last summer.  I simply can no longer deny that I really am a food addict, and have been in relapse mode for awhile.  I've hit this place before over the years and sort of slammed through 12 step food programs for a few weeks - finding fast relief and weight loss by following strict and austere food plans.  But the way I've always used those programs is for the addict's most highly coveted commodity...the quick fix.  But for true recovery and healing from an addictive process, there just is no quick fix.

My new "bottom" has awakened me to some realities about how I've been operating lately when it comes to weight loss.  First, I've gained weight. 'Nuff said.  Can I be a weight loss blogger and gain weight?  Obviously I can, but I prefer to not be the poster child for "Don't let this happen to you."  Second, I've used the scale as my barometer of what kind of eating I can do on any given day.   Also the scale determines my mood.  Down a few pounds - happy happy joy joy.  Up a few - foul and irritable, and jolted into cleaned up eating.  This cycle has been going on for months.  (I almost said weeks, but that would have been a Leslie Lie.)  Third, and this starts to get a little deeper into the nature of addiction, I've had food on my mind almost continually.  Events, such as a party at work, or a celebration, or a meal out - is about food before anything else.  It's hard to admit that.  True obsession of the mind.  And once I feed the obsession, the compulsion insists I continue until I'm "done", whatever that means.

An example: I had a clean food day on Wednesday and woke Thursday already churned up because I had an anniversary party for an AA meeting that night.  This annual event always has a huge tantalizing spread of food.  I wanted to go, but knew if I went I probably couldn't abstain from "tying on the feed bag", so to speak.  I decided to take it one minute of the time over the course of the day and keep my food on plan, exercise, all the usual good choices.  But my mind was obsessed all day to where I finally ended up having just a handful of nuts at work.  This could be a benign and even healthy choice...except that my frame of mind was in food obsessed mode. The handful became another, which morphed into a "couple of cookies", and the rest is not worth repeating.  As this was unfolding, I was thinking, "Now I can just eat what I want at the party tonight, since I've already blown it, and begin again tomorrow.  Turns out that was the evening we had the bad storms and I ended up not going, but I did continue to overeat at home.  A lot.

That is a terribly embarrassing story to recount, and there will be readers who have weight problems but aren't food addicts who won't get it.  I may lose followers.  I've already lost one in the last 2 days as I've begun to get honest about all this.  So be it.  Hopefully this will help someone who's like me at the other end of the weight spectrum and can't get a handle on the eating.

I'm at a place right now where I feel ready to accept this and deal with it once and for all.  And not in quick fix mode.  It will be a gradual and probably long process.  The weight loss may happen a lot faster than the emotional and spiritual healing does.  But the emotional and spiritual maladies I have as an addict are at the core of my eating, and if left untended, relapse will continue to be a frequent visitor.  What I'm reflecting on now as I face this revolting state of affairs is whether I want to return to a food 12 step program or use the principles I've learned from them in the past and try to do it by blogging as the means of not doing it alone.  Addiction can't be addressed in isolation.  I've learned that well in AA.  I can't do it alone.  I need others to help me, and I need to help others who also suffer.  In order to keep recovery, I've got to give it away.  But first I've got to get it for myself.  Talk about paradox.  Anyway - I know the rigidity of food 12 step programs is profound - nothing like AA.  I know myself and that I can't sustain absolute rigidity over the long haul.  So starting going back to their meetings would be a temporary measure that I'm not sure I want to do.  Meetings are for support - giving and getting.  And for learning.  Can I find those aspects of meetings through blogging and talking to close friends?

I have several friends in real life (as opposed to virtual) who have similar issues with whom I can and do talk about difficult stuff.  I have a therapist I trust, love and who knows me well.  And I have every book ever written on the subject.  So - to cut this off sort of abruptly due to time constraints, I think I have what I need to succeed.  The key factor is me staying honest.  No more half-truths.  No more trying to sound better than I am.

That's where I am for today.  I have 2 clean days behind me and am in process for a third.  I am literally scared of  "offending foods" for now.  I have no morsel of denial left regarding my ability to have one compulsive bite of anything and thinking it won't send me off to the races.  I'm grateful for that today.


  1. Catching up with blogs. Thank you for very honest post, Leslie. I completely understand. There are those that might not, as some people do not have the same relationship with food that others do. I have that addicted/obsessive relationship. So I get it. Just want you to know that I'm in your corner.

  2. Anonymous27 June, 2010

    This is the reality of the struggle... People who drop off the list because of it are likely not being honest with themselves. I'm sure this hits uncomfortably close to home for a lot of people.

    and I've been there myself.

    Keep on keepin' on. The only way to fail is to quit trying. I believe in you!

  3. Well i'm definitely not going anywhere!!
    "hugs" I know it's a long journey but you have loads of support here and in "real" life.

  4. Leslie, just so you know, your honesty the other day made join as a follower. You can do this. My issues are different, I think, but there is a lot of common ground and you've already helped me in my journey. Congrats on Day #3.

  5. I totally get you. It IS about food addiction with many of us. Not just simply overeating. I think about food all the time. It's these brutally honest posts that are keeping me reading, the ones that I can TOTALLY relate to! I missed the last couple of posts, as it has been an incredibly busy weekend and I'm behind on everyones. I'll catch up and be assured that I am not going anywhere!!

  6. Leslie, honesty is a great place to start many wonderful journey's through life (even though the honesty part can be quite brutal).

    I definitely think people can be addicted to food, however, I think dieting contributes to food addiction (hope I don't lose you as a follower!!:)

    I'm in your corner, rootin' for you all the way! You are going to make it and I'm going to witness it!!

  7. I've been relapsing myself, Leslie, so I feel your honesty. I'm going to do Deb's Freedom Challenge, too. Let's work toward freedom together.

  8. I love your honesty. Be accountable good will come from joining something you really don't want to join. As for followers, who knows why people come and go - this is YOUR blog, YOUR life and YOUR struggles. I'm here because I can relate to a lot of what you are going through. Just because I haven't gone off the deep end, food-wise, in a while, doesn't mean I don't know that it's in me, that out-of-control feeling. Awareness of what I'm capable of, both good and bad, keeps it real...and seeing what you are going through brings it home. So thank you, my friend, for putting this out there.

  9. Leslie, from the moment I joined my 12step food program I refused to work anyone else's food plan but my own. I set up my own abstinence based upon my bingeing history, not upon anyone else's. I evaluate things by whether I think they're coming from my hp or coming from the minds of the others who may be a little crazy about food. If you've stumbled into a very "strict"form of program, find another meeting. Email me if I can help!

  10. Anonymous27 June, 2010

    First, I get it! :D I know that I don't need to explain. chuckle. groan. sigh. And I think you are couragous.

    I wonder if there is a halfway point between the extreme control of the 12 step thing and flying nearly solo via blogland.

    I know you have your AA group and friends, but I'm not sure that's enough. Even tho I agree that the 12 step program you described is way tooo much.

    I know you've considered Weight Watchers. It is flexible enough that you can choose what food plan works for you. And, really, you wouldn't even have to count points if you didn't want to do that. I personaly HATED counting points. I totally obsessed.

    I found logging into SparkPeople twice a day works for me as far as food tracking. I don't have to count anything--SP does it all. Before dinner, I log in everything I've eaten till that point--SP tallies and sorts it--then I know what I have left to "spend" for dinner and evening.

    For me, that eliminates obsessing. It may not work for everyone, tho--and still leaves you without a group.

    I dunno. It just seems to me that you might need more than the blog. Since AA works so well for you, another group situation may help. If not WW, maybe your therapist knows of a support group that focuses on weight loss...

    What I do know is that YOU know what will work for you. You're experienced at this recovery thing, after all. You'll come up with the plan for you. I'm just adding my musings. :) You know you get to ignote me and I won't be offended in the least.


    And hugs.


  11. Anonymous27 June, 2010


  12. Anonymous28 June, 2010

    Sending my love via bloggy comment....I'm with you!! I totally get everything you're saying. I think we may be in the same canoe and someone has stolen our paddles!!

  13. NONE of US can write to make everyone else comfortable with their own skin.

    We all absolutely have to lose the 'write to please the masses' viewpoint. and part of that (IMO) is NOT watching the numbers (on your blog). It might be a bit like coming to terms with the number on the scale.

    I for one - have NO idea how many readers I have - and never have looked. I don't even have it set up to look. I have heard other bloggers talk about this same topic over the years. And you can REALLY see it in certain blogs. and you can well imagine, knowing me as you do, that people who desire enabling and codependency - get really upset with me. I am very sure of my own skin now - and let it roll on off of me - it absolutely doesn't have a thing to do with ME. It is all about them.

    There are a few people around weight loss blog land who truly don't have eating disorder behavior and truly don't have food addiction problems. Notice I said a FEW.

    There are a LOT of people that tell themselves they don't and are in DEEP DENIAL. And those are the people who (probably) are going to give you a hard time and/or leave. They are going to be totally sure (in their mind) YOU don't 'get it'.

    The people that truly just need to lose a few pounds - are not going to get upset with you - they might lose interest - but they are not going to be vocal about it.

    Enabling and codependency are what keep a lot of bloggers going/interested. Step on their toes - call them - on that - and watch them get very upset and say - 'you don't understand' or some other version of putting it in your lap. My therapist and I have talked about this a lot.

    I am not talking about a 'holier than thou' attitude - I am talking about reality. and there are a lot of people that soooooooooooo do not want to see, hear or touch reality.

    what you are going to learn from your therapist will be very interesting and I hope you write about your journey in detail.

    Love to see 'leave the ego at the door' blogging. It is (part of) what gets people to a place where they get out of their own way and become their own best friend.

  14. Leslie, thank you so much for writing this honest post. For those of us who don't have a food addiction it can be hard to understand the thought process involved. Educating myself about such things is very important to me and helps me to write better posts myself.

    Try to keep in mind that it's more important to your situation to have fewer, but extremely supportive followers.

    All the best.

  15. I really feel for you right now... I'm having a few 'ups and downs' with my weight loss at the moment and I'm hoping that it's just a case of two steps forward, one step back... Eventually I'll get there! I guess I already knew I was a 'food addict' and a bit of an obsessive... :o( Wouldn't it be nice if we could turn our food addiction into something like an obsession with gardening? lol

    I think most of us who follow other blogs are in for the long haul. Some people only want to read the inspriational "look how well I'm doing" posts because their own weight loss journey is pretty precarious and to see other people being honest about their struggles can send them on a downward spiral. Then there are those bloggers who just seem to breeze through their weight loss with no setbacks or distractions and post about seeing 'larger' people on the street and wondering if they should say something to 'help' them because, it *they* can do it, "anyone can"... But we know it's not as simple as that... Life often gets in the way for a start and let's not go there with the psychology behind excessive overeating!

    I would personally prefer to read the blogs of people who are honest about their weight loss experiences (easy, difficult or downright near-impossible) and have the guts to stick with it than those who post about what a doddle it is, why isn't everyone doing it, then who then disappear from the blogging community, never to be seen again because they've slipped... :o(